From Le Pen to Alice Weidel: how the European far-right set its sights on women

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In far-right populist parties across the continent, a new generation of angry white women are rising to leadership roles. Why are they turning to groups that have traditionally opposed feminism?

It was a chastening lesson for any woman tempted to join the cut and thrust of rightwing populism. After Corinna Miazga was elected to the German parliament in 2017 for the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, a male colleague suggested she would be better suited to being a pole dancer than an MP.

Miazga did not let it rest, getting her own back by telling a party conference of the lewd intervention by fellow MP Petr Bystron. “An ‘Argh’ went up in the audience,” she recalls. “No one could quite believe I’d dared to reveal this. Many people in the AfD were subsequently angry at me. They said: ‘We know you’re cross, but by bringing this into the public arena, you’ll encourage people to say we have a male-female problem in the party.’”

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